A recent research survey by Clutch conducted amongst 351 firms in the US with less than 500 employees revealed that small businesses made use of social media to the optimum, writes Richard Adhikari in ecommercetimes.com. Overall, 71% of those who were surveyed said they used social media for business purposes, while those associated with companies owned by women reported widespread use, noted the report.
An estimated 86% of who were surveyed said they used social media posted to Facebook, while 48% used Instagram, 12% FB alone, 74% of businesses owned by women used social media, 66% of businesses owned by men used social media, 79% of millennial businesses owners used social media, 65% of business owners older than 35 do so, 52% of small businesses posted on social media at least once a day, 54% of businesses posted images or infographics to their social media pages because people process images better than text and 13% of firms had no plans to use social media in the future. The indication that businesses owned by women use social media more “identifies a known personality difference between men and women,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group told Adhikari and added: “By nature, women tend to be more social.”
Around 54% of the survey respondents, 191 of them were women. The remaining 46% or 160 were men. However, that did not skew the survey’s findings, Kristen Herhold, a marketer at Clutch told the author. “The difference was only 31 people, and we find that difference to be statistically insignificant,” she said.
Also, women outnumbered men in the 2010 U.S. population census, Herhold pointed out. (The difference was 1.6% of the population or about five million people.) Age also was a factor that correlated with business use of social media. Older businesspeople were less likely to use it, the survey revealed. What is more, 40% of respondents were aged 18-34, 40% were aged 35-54,19% were 55 and older; 79% of millennial business owners used social media and 65% of Generation X and baby boomer business users, combined, used social media, Adhikari wrote.
Stating that the millennial businesspeople used social media more because they were more familiar with it, Clutch report went on to add that while older businesspeople lived and worked before the advent of social networking and were less likely to see the need for them.
Top Social Media Platforms
The lion’s share of business social media users posted on Facebook, the survey found with a staggering 90% of Generation X and baby boomers used Facebook, as did 82% of millennials, noted the report. Other players include Instagram, which drew 56% of millennials and 40% of Generation X and baby boomers, while Snapchat pulled 32% and 20% of the older businesspeople.
Millennial business owners were inclined to use Instagram and Snapchat more heavily than their older counterparts because they used them more heavily for personal connections and thus were more familiar with them Clutch was quoted as saying by the report. More than half the businesses that used social media shared content or engaged with followers at least once daily, the survey found.
Show Me the Money
“No matter how many employees a company has, businesses can succeed on social media to reach potential customers in ways not possible before the Internet,” Herhold said. The survey’s findings raise the question of whether businesses owned by men would profit from greater social media usage.
“The findings really only talk to usage,” Enderle said and added: “To answer the question, we’d need something on effectiveness.” There aren’t any definitive statistics to show whether time on social media is wasted, as some think, Enderle pointed out. “All we can tell is that women use it more, but we also know that men dominate business.”
Surviving the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Mess
Small businesses using social media might be hurt by the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica issue. Facebook recently has drawn fire for not doing enough to stop Cambridge Analytica from illegally mining data on as many as 50 million of its subscribers. As a consequence, people might “not be as willing to interact with a company on Facebook or click on an advertisement. It will be interesting to see how this scandal changes how companies use Facebook, Herhold added.